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MIT joins effort for energy-efficient computing

In a collaboration that reinforces MIT's commitment to addressing global energy challenges, the Institute has joined a worldwide effort to drive energy-efficient computing.

The goal is to save $5.5 billion in energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons per year.

Led by Intel and Google, the Climate Savers Computing Initiative aims to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by setting aggressive new targets for energy-efficient computers and components and promoting the adoption of energy-efficient computers and power management tools worldwide.

"This is an important step that demonstrates MIT's commitment to reducing our campus energy use and carbon dioxide footprint," said Leon R. Glicksman, professor of architecture and mechanical engineering and co-chair of MIT's new Campus Energy Task Force with Theresa Stone, MIT's executive vice president and treasurer.

"The increase in computer efficiency is only part of MIT's campus energy initiative," he continued. "We also want to inform users what they can do to reduce energy consumption as related to computing. Further, we have innovative concepts that will decrease the energy needed to cool large server installations."

Said Jerrold Grochow, MIT's vice president for information services and technology, "The MIT campus is home to over 20,000 personal computers and hundreds of high-performance servers.  Reducing energy consumption of these machines will help us in our goal of ensuring that MIT is an example of the best in efficient energy usage, something that is a cornerstone of our Institute-wide focus on energy research and practice initiatives. 

"These initiatives will have results far beyond the MIT campus in helping improve efficient energy consumption in all large organizations," he said.

Bill Weihl, head of energy strategy at Google, said: "As a former MIT professor, I know first-hand the creativity and innovation that MIT can bring to bear on critical problems like the climate crisis.  We are delighted to have them join us in this important initiative to reduce energy consumption from computers. Their commitment to energy efficiency helps set a standard for others to follow."

"Today, the average desktop PC wastes nearly half of its power, and the average server wastes one-third of its power," said Urs Hölzle, Google's senior vice president for operations and Google Fellow. "The Climate Savers Computing Initiative is setting a new 90 percent efficiency target for power supplies, which if achieved, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54 million tons per year--and save more than $5.5 billion in energy costs."

"We are asking businesses and individuals throughout the world to join with us to institute better power management of their computing equipment and purchase energy-efficient computers," Hölzle added. Already more than 30 organizations, including MIT, have joined the initiative.

The initial companies who intend to participate in the initiative represent both the demand and supply side of the computer industry, including computer manufacturers and chip makers, as well as universities, environmental groups, energy companies, retailers, government agencies and others. The group will formalize its membership in coming weeks.

"By 2010, the Climate Savers Computing Initiative will cut greenhouse gas emissions in an amount equal to removing more than 11 million cars from the road or shutting down 20 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants--a significant step in reducing the emissions affecting our planet," said Pat Gelsinger, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group.

"Computers have helped us make huge strides toward a more efficient world today, with reduced travel, more productivity, online transactions and more," Gelsinger added. "But with today's latest energy-efficient technologies, we can do even more. The commitment of the member companies that are here with us today is a firm statement to the collective resolve to make an enormous impact."

Computer and computer component manufacturers who support the initiative are committed to building energy-efficient products that meet or surpass the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star® guidelines. Businesses must also commit to requiring high-efficiency systems for the majority of their corporate desktop PCs and volume server purchases and to deploy and use power management tools on desktop PCs.

Individual consumers can also support the Climate Savers Computing Initiative by signing up at, where they will be able to pledge to purchase an initiative-certified system. The web site will also help consumers learn how to take advantage of their existing computer's power-saving capabilities such as sleep and hibernate modes, which can reduce the amount of energy consumed by up to 60 percent.

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